Research on Benefits and Limitations of Student Peer Mentoring


Carruthers (1993) states that the advantages of peer mentoring extends to the mentee, mentor and the organzation. Some of these advantages for the mentee include:

• acquiring knowledge and skills
• being able to access the mentor’s network
• having a role model for appropriate and effective social and student behaviors.

For the mentor the advantages include:

• gaining a sense of being needed
• recognition of talents
• the professional experience.

The educational organization gains benefits including:

• increased productivity of students
• Better student morale and attitudes
• better academic performance
• improved recruitment rates when availability of mentoring is marketed
• Increased student retention rates and enrollment
• development of leadership qualities among students.

There are also disadvantages which Carruthers describes. These include:

• a potential to exhibit attitudes of elitism by program participants
• less attention paid to less gifted students
• inhibiting talent development when mentors are to directive
• jealousy between mentored and non mentored students or mentees and mentors
• perceived threat and conflict, especially within the mentoring relationship
• the stress of the pressure to make the process meaningful to each other
• the ‘awe factor’ exhibited towards the mentor (MacLennan, 1995, p.45).

Carruthers, J. (1993). The principles and practice of mentoring. In B. Caldwell and E. Carter (Eds.), The return of the mentor: Strategies for workplace learning. London: Falmer Press.

MacLennan, N. (1995). Coaching and mentoring. Hampshire, England: Gower.